[C] CHI2018 Paper: “I Hear You”: Understanding Awareness Information Exchange in an Audio-only Workspace

Abstract: Graphical displays are a typical means for conveying awareness information in groupware systems to help users track joint activities, but are not ideal when vision is constrained. Understanding how people maintain awareness through non-visual means is crucial for designing effective alternatives for supporting awareness in such situations. We present a lab study simulating an extreme scenario where 32 pairs of participants use an audio-only tool to edit shared audio menus. Our aim is to characterise collaboration in this audio-only space in order to identify whether and how, by itself, audio can mediate collaboration. Our findings show that the means for audio delivery and choice of working styles in this space influence types and patterns of awareness information exchange. We thus highlight the need to accommodate different working styles when designing audio support for awareness, and extend previous research by identifying types of awareness information to convey in response to group work dynamics.